ATi's Catalyst Control Center Geared for Enthusiasts and Neophytes

A Glimpse Of The Future

ATi plans to constantly expand the feature-set of the CCC and has already announced several extensions and new features planned for the future:

  • An Automatic Update Feature
  • Application Manager
  • New video functions (inverse Gamma Control)
  • New Radiance color settings
  • Full product support including workstation products

What Is Microsoft .NET?

So what is Microsoft's .NET all about? It's not all that easy to explain, really, since .NET stands for a vision of the Internet of the future and communication in general. Microsoft describes .NET as follows:

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"The Microsoft .NET Framework is a platform for building, deploying, and running Web Services and applications. It provides a highly productive, standards-based, multi-language environment for integrating existing investments with next-generation applications and services as well as the agility to solve the challenges of deployment and operation of Internet-scale applications. The .NET Framework consists of three main parts: the common language runtime, a hierarchical set of unified class libraries, and a componentized version of Active Server Pages called ASP.NET."

Probably, that blurb didn't help much either, so let's try again with an example. .NET is supposed to connect your PC to other appliances, such as your mobile phone or your PDA, over the Internet. One possible scenario could be something like this: Let's assume that a particular person enjoys going to the movies. His favorite movie theater sends a message that a new movie is premiering soon. With this information, he can buy tickets online for a certain show. His schedule calendar is then automatically updated to include the new event. Simultaneously, a map service provides him with driving directions or pre-sets the navigation system of his car to the new destination. During the drive, our hypothetical cineaste is kept up to date on the traffic situation by his favorite radio station. After the movie is over, his PDA or mobile phone could then offer information on restaurants in the area, including their menu of the day and sorted, of course, by the user's preferences... etc.

An overview of Microsoft's .NET concept.

Of course, this can all be taken much further as well. However, none of this is really new, and most of these ideas can already be implemented today: websites that display the weather, map services that offer driving directions, online banking, online ticket sales, etc. Microsoft's .NET aims to link all these services and make them available on a large variety of devices - provided they have access to the Internet. Those who have seen the movie "Minority Report" should have a pretty good idea already of where Microsoft is going with their .NET vision...

For many, this brings up the question of what all this has to do with a graphics card driver. For ATi, the main point of attraction is the modularity offered by .NET, which allows the developers to add extensions and other services and utilities to the drivers. In addition, it makes it much easier to tie in with the Web services of the card makers. Driver updates and information on current or upcoming products brings ATi and its board partners much closer to their user base.